Misogyny is deeply rooted in our society. Here’s a thought exercise that shows how amazingly widespread it is and how it affects girls.
Imagine you’re a young girl.
Ever since you were old enough to understand, here’s what you’ve learned:
Girls can’t be athletic. In fact, it’s an insult to tell any boy that he throws like a girl.
Girls cry, and that’s a bad thing. Because if a boy cries, he’s told he’s Crying like a little girl and he’d better Stop. Right. Now.
It’s a bad thing to wear anything like girls’ clothing. If a boy wears something pastel colored or with a flowery pattern, someone will tell him that his clothing is girly. And that’s very bad.
From what you hear, it sounds like men are braver and stronger than women. Anyone who seems weak is told to man up. You have to take it like a man.
As you enter high school, you learn more:
Just the possession of male genitalia makes someone stronger. You can even hear a grown woman told to grow a pair or be taunted, “You don’t have the balls.”
Let me repeat that: there’s not much worse than being called a cunt or a pussy.
There are even special derogatory words that are used to describe women. When have you ever heard a man called "shrill," "feisty," or "bossy?"
You learn that you must be trim and beautiful. But if you take pains to dress well, wear makeup, do your hair, or even wear high heels, you will be subject to catcalls and inappropriate remarks from strangers. You may even be called a slut by other girls.
You learn that your body is just something to be ogled. On their web pages, radio stations feature the scantily-clad babe of the day. But there’s no nearly-naked hunk of the day on those web pages.
You learn that your body is not something to be respected. You’d better be careful. You have to learn how to be safe from assault, but men do not have to learn that they’re not supposed to assault you. And that if you blow the whistle on inappropriate touching you may suffer retaliation. If you are raped, your allegations are likely to be doubted, as politicians prattle on about “legitimate rape” and the public asks, “But what was she wearing?”
But watch TV and you’ll see how women are supposed to look. On Dancing With the Stars, you’ll see that women are expected to bare their bodies, while men wear long sleeves and long pants. You’ll see professional women portrayed as hot babes wearing stiletto heels and flashing their cleavage at work.
So what are you to think? You think that you are not as good as a boy.
No, you know you are not as good as a boy.
Nobody has told you this. In fact, some may have explicitly told you that you are just as good as any boy. But simply through exposure to American culture you have learned that boys are better and more important.
You carry that knowledge into adulthood, where you encounter new insults
You’d better not sleep with many men because that will make you a slut. Whereas men can sleep with as many women as they want, and they are just boys being boys. They’re sowing their wild oats. But if one of these men sows his wild oats in you, you become pregnant, and you aren’t sure which oat-sower is the father, you will be criticized for not keeping your legs together, and you will be berated for not knowing who the father is.
You can’t be trusted to decide what to do with something that is growing in your own body. Self-righteous people think they have the right to make those decisions for you. In spite of you. They misinform you with misleading “pregnancy counseling” services.
You won’t make as much as a man. You realize that you will be passed over in favor of a man for promotions to jobs for which you are equally or better qualified. (See Clinton, Hillary.)
You are not supposed to show your age. You are accosted by commercials that promise you can stay young by using the advertised products. You wonder why men aren’t held to the same standard.
You will be judged as being bitchy or aggressive for the same behavior that is considered strong or assertive in a man. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a former professor of law at Harvard, has been called “angry” because of her straightforward comments. Even Hillary Rodham Clinton, after serving as a US Senator and Secretary of State, is called a bitch just for standing up for herself.
You understand that, no matter your professional bona fides, your style comes first. A reporter asked international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney what designer she would be wearing in court. Physicist and Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, faces criticism for looking frumpy. And even former United States Senator and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, couldn’t escape questions about her pantsuits. (And why doesn’t Donald Trump ever button his jacket or wear a proper-length tie? He's a man; he gets a pass.)
Now, do you feel good about being a woman?
Not so much.
No wonder so many women struggle with self-esteem issues. Nobody has to tell a girl or woman that being female is bad; she just absorbs that knowledge from birth, because misogyny is embedded in our culture.